The following are the most common injuries that occur in car accidents. Your first concern after a crash is to fully recover or reach maximum medical improvement for your injuries. A good personal injury lawyer will help you get the right treatment for your injuries to get you back on track as soon as possible after the accident. Here is a list of the injuries we most commonly see:
Whiplash is a neck injury caused by forceful and sudden back-and-forth movement of the neck. It is called whiplash because the mechanism is similar to the rapid cracking of a whip. This motion can cause injury in the bones of the spine, the discs between the bones in the spine, and the ligaments, muscles, nerves and other neck tissues.
The symptoms of whiplash may include severe neck pain, tenderness, headaches (most often starting at the base of the skull), stiffness, fatigue, dizziness, soreness, decreased of range of motion in the neck, pain and a tingling or numbness spreading into the arms.
Sources such as WebMD, the Mayo Clinic and my own experience show that whiplash injury victims may also experience blurred vision, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), sleep problems, irritability, difficulty with concentration, memory problems and depression.
2. Spinal Injuries
All areas of your spine may be injured in a rear-end car accident. Most injuries occur to the spine (like the lumbar spine (low back) and thoracic spine (mid back)) when the driver or passengers in the vehicle do not have time to brace for impact. This can occur when the occupant either is unaware of the impending collision or does not have time to react to brace for impact given that a collision can literally occur in less than one second. When a person is unable to brace for impact, the spine does not have a chance to stabilize and protect itself from the force of impact.
3. Head Injury
There is a significant transfer of energy in a crash which may cause the brain to twist in the skull. As a result, brain cells may be damaged or stretched in the accident from the unnatural twisting or jarring of the brain in the crash. A traumatic brain injury (TBI) may result. TBI is an injury to the brain caused by an external physical force. TBIs are not the result of degenerative (from the process of aging) or congenital (from birth) causes. TBI may cause a diminished or altered state of consciousness, which results in an impairment of cognitive abilities or physical functioning. TBI may be diagnosed with the use of imaging equipment such as computed tomography (CT) or Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). Other standardized tests are useful to diagnose TBI such as an Acute Concussion Evaluation (ACE), Glasgow Coma Scale and neuropsychological evaluation.
4. Broken Bones or Ribcages
Broken or fractured bones are common car accident injuries. A person may suffer a broken rib or collarbone as a result of the sudden engagement of the seatbelt stopping mechanism. Broken bones, like arms, legs and ankles, may occur because of the body striking the inside of the vehicle.
5. Shoulder Injuries
The force of impact coupled with the sudden stopping movement of the seatbelt can often lead to shoulder injuries. Such injuries can include dislocation, torn rotator cuffs, labral injuries, SLAP injuries, Acromioclavicular Joint (AC Joint) problems, and bicep tendon injury.
6. Knee Injuries
Knee injuries often occur as a result of impact from the dashboard, steering column, or other objects in all types of car crashes. Common knee injuries may include:
- MCL Injury: The MCL (medial collateral ligament) – most commonly damaged ligament
- The PCL (posterior cruciate ligament)
- The ACL (anterior cruciate ligament)
- Knee sprain & strain
- Knee dislocation
- Knee fracture
7. Lacerations and Puncture Wounds
A car accident may cause glass to shatter and other objects to become projectiles. When that happens, lacerations and puncture wounds can occur. An airbag may also result in severe facial lacerations. A laceration is tearing of the skin (a cut) that results in an irregular wound. Lacerations may be caused by injury with a sharp object or by impact injury from a blunt object or force. Facial lacerations caused by shattered glass are the most common type of injury we encounter. Lacerations may result in the need for sutures or reconstructive surgery in the most significant cases. A laceration wound is often contaminated with bacteria and debris from whatever object caused the cut and may lead to infection. Because of this, it is important to get prompt medical treatment.
A puncture wound is a deep penetrating injury caused by a flying object striking a person in an accident. A puncture wound usually does not bleed excessively and may appear to close up. Puncture wounds are prone to infection and proper medical attention should be given to clean and treat the puncture wound.
Damage to the spinal cord after a car accident can cause severe nerve damage. Victims may experience reduced or loss of sensation or control over their legs, feet, arms or other body parts. In the most serious circumstances, spinal cord damage can lead to permanent paralysis.
When you call the Harmonson Law Firm for help, you take the first step toward making it right and holding the responsible party or entity accountable for their wrongdoing.